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Glossary of Cricket Terms

A glossary of cricket terms
Cricket, more than most sports, is full of expressions and terms designed to
bewilder the newcomer (and often even the more seasoned follower).

Lets know few terms that are introduced by the commentators and also that are in the pre-defined dictionary of the game.

Arm Ball A ball bowled by a slow bowler which has no spin on it and so does
not turn as expected but which stays on a straight line ("goes on with the

The Ashes Series between England and Australia are played for The Ashes
Asking rate - The runs required per over for a team to win - mostly relevant in
a one-dayer.

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Ball Red for first-class and most club cricket, white for one-day matches (and,
experimentally, women once used blue balls and men orange ones). It weighs
5½ ounces ( 5 ounces for women's cricket and 4¾ ounces for junior cricket)

Ball Tampering The illegal action of changing the condition of the ball by
artificial means, usually scuffing the surface, picking or lifting the seam of the
ball, or applying substances other than sweat or saliva.

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Bat-Pad A fielding position close to the batsman designed to catch balls
which pop up off the bat, often via the batsman's pads

Batter Another word for batsman, first used as long ago as 1773. Also
something you fry fish in

Beamer A ball that does not bounce (usually accidently) and passes the
batsman at or about head height. If aimed straight at the batsman by a fast
bowler, this is a very dangerous delivery (and generally frowned on)

Bend your back - The term used to signify the extra effort put in by a fast
bowler to obtain some assistance from a flat pitch

Belter A pitch which offers little help to bowlers and so heavily favours

Blob A score of 0 (see duck)

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Bodyline (also known as leg theory) A tactic most infamously used by
England in 1932-33, although one which had been around for some time
before that, in which the bowler aimed at the batsman rather than the wicket
with the aim of making him give a catch while attempting to defend himself.
The fielding side were packed on the leg side to take catches which resulted.
This is now illegal

Bosie An Australian term for a googly, now rarely used. Originated from the
inventor of the delivery, BJT Bosanquet Bouncer A short-pitched ball which passes the batsman at chest or head height

Boundary The perimeter of a cricket field, or the act of the batsman scoring a
four or a six (eg "Tendulkar hammered three boundaries")

Box An abdominal protector worn by batsmen and wicketkeepers. It is also an
old term for a fielder in the gully region.

Bump Ball A ball which is played off the bat almost instantly into the ground
and is caught by a fielder. Often this has the appearance of being a clean

Bunny Also known as Rabbit. A member of the side who cannot bat and is
selected as a specialist bowler or wicketkeeper, and who almost always bats
at No. 11. It can also be used to describe a player who often gets out to one
bowler - "Atherton was McGrath's bunny"

Bunsen A term used by commentators to describe a pitch heavily favouring
slow bowlers. From Cockney rhyming slang (Bunsen Burner = turner).

Bye A run scored when the batsman does not touch the ball with either his bat
or body. First recorded in the 1770s.

Carry your bat An opening batsman who remains not out at the end of a
completed innings (ie when all his team-mates are out)

Charge, giving the When a batsman leaves his crease to attack the ball,
usually against a slow bowler. By doing this he can convert a good-length ball
into a half-volley

Chest-on Used to describe a bowler who delivers the ball with his chest
facing the batsman, as opposed to being side on

Chinaman A ball bowled by a left-arm slow bowler that turns into the righthand batsman, in effect a left-arm legspinner. Named after Puss Achong

Chin music Fast bowlers aiming the ball at the batsman's head. The term
originated in the Caribbean
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Chucker Another term for a bowler who throws the ball

Closing the face Turning the face of the bat inwards and, in doing so, hitting
the ball to the leg side

Corridor of uncertainty A term beloved by commentators which describes an
area just outside the batsman's off stump where he is unsure whether he has
to leave or play the ball

Cross bat A cross-batted shot is where the batsman holds his bat horizontally
when striking the ball. Examples of cross-batted shots include hooks, pulls
and cuts

Dead ball A ball from which no runs can be scored or wickets taken. First
referred to in 1798
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Declaration When the batting side ends their innings before all of their
players are out

Dolly An easy catch

Doosra A Hindi/Urdu word which means "second" or "other", the doosra is the
offspinner's version of the googly, delivered out of the back of the hand and
turning away from the right-hand batsman

Drifter/ Floater - A delivery bowled by an offspinner which curves away from
a right-hander, and then carries straight on instead of turning

Duck A score of 0 (also known as blob)

Duckworth Lewis Named after Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis, two
mathematicians who devised a system to help decide one-day cricket
matches when rain interrupts play. Click here for more information.
Economy rate The average number of runs a bowler concedes per over
Extras Runs not scored by batsmen. There are four common extras - byes,
leg byes, wides and no-balls. In Australia these are known as sundries
Featherbed A batsmen-friendly pitch with little life for the bowlers. Often
found in Antigua

Flipper A variation for the legspinner that appears to be pitching short but the
ball skids on quickly and often results in bowled or lbw. It is a delivery that is
used sparingly Full toss A ball that reaches the batsmen without bouncing. Above waist
height it becomes a beamer

Gardening - The act of the batsman repairing indentations in the pitch, made
by the ball or studs, with his bat. More likely to happen when a ball has just
whistled past his nose or scooted by his ankle

Good length - The ideal length that the bowler aims for, getting the batsman
in two minds as whether to play forwards or back

Googly - The legspinner's variation that turns into the right-hander and away
from the left-hander

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Grubber - A ball that hardly bounces

Half volley - A ball that is the perfect length for driving, fuller than a good
length but not a full-toss

Handled the ball - If the batsmen deliberately touches the ball with his hands
he can be given out.

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Hawk-Eye - A tracking technology which helps to explain the intricacies of the
sport, Hawk-Eye can be helpful in judging LBWs. At the moment it is used
mainly for arm-chair umpiring, although one day it may be used in an official

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Heavy ball - When a delivery is quicker than it looks and hits the bat harder or
higher than is expected

Hit the ball twice - If a batsmen deliberately strikes the ball twice to gain runs
he can be given out. However, the batsman can knock the ball away from his
stumps with the bat

Hit the deck - The bowler's ability to deliver the ball from height and extract
extra bounce from the pitch

Hoick - Same as slog, but most used for on-side shots

In-ducker - An inswinging delivery that moves into the batsman very late.
Wasim Akram produced deadly versions with the older ball
Inside out, turning the batsman - A batsman aims to leg but the ball goes
past the off and he is forced to play the ball open-chested

Inside-out shot - A stroke where the batsman moves towards the leg side
and hits a ball around leg stump into the off side

Jaffa - A delivery that is too good for the batsman, and leaves him groping
hopelessly at thin air or (as the bowler will hope) dismisses him

King pair - Hardly worth turning up if you get one of these ... out first ball for
zero in both innings Leading edge - When the batsman mis-hits the ball and edges it forward in
the opposite direction to which he was attempting to play

Leg-Before Wicket (LBW) - One of the game's more complex rules, but at its
simplest ... you cannot be out if the ball pitched outside the line of leg stump;
you cannot be out if the ball hits you outside the line of off stump unless you
are offering no stroke. Aside from that, if it hits you in line, the only decision
the umpire has to make is whether the ball is going on to hit the stumps.

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Leg-bye - When the ball deflects off the pad and the batsmen run. A shot
must be offered to the ball. Leg-byes do not count against the bowler

Leg-break/spin - When the ball pitches and turns from leg to off for a righthander

Leg-cutter - A ball which cuts and moves away from the batsman towards the
offside (if he is a righthander)

Leg-side - The area of the pitch behind the batsman's legs

Length Where the ball pitches down the wicket. Lengths can be generally
short, full or good

Lifter - A ball that rises unexpectedly

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Line - The line of attack the bowler employs when he is bowling

Lollipop - A really easy ball to hit - a 'gift'

Long hop - a ball which pitches short, sits up and 'begs' to be hit

Loop - The flight of the ball

Maiden - An over where no runs that are attributable to the bowler are scored
(byes or leg-byes may be scored in this over, though, as these don't count
against the bowler)

Middle - To hit the ball from the meat of the bat, "to middle it" is to connect
really well. Middle is also the centre of the field, where the bulk of the action
takes place

Nervous nineties - The psychological pressure on the batsman knowing he is
approaching a century

New ball - Can usually be taken every 80 overs. The advantage is to quick
bowlers who have a shiny and bouncy ball, but conversely it can result in an
increase in scoring rate as the ball comes off the bat faster.

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Nick - A faint edge off the bat

Nightwatchman A non-batsman promoted up the order towards the end of a
day's play with the idea of shielding a recognised batsman in the final overs
No-ball - An illegitimate delivery, usually when the bowler has overstepped on
the front crease

Nurdle - The batsman nudging the ball around and into gaps

Obstruction - When the batsman wilfully blocks or distracts a fielder to
prevent a catch being made or a run-out being effected
Occupy the crease - When a batsman stays at the wicket but scores slowly,
often with the intention of playing out for a draw

Off-break/spin - A ball turning into the right hander- from off to leg (from left to right)

Off-cutter - An offbreak delivered at speed

Off the mark When the batsman scores his first run

Off-side The side of the pitch which is to batsman's right (if right-handed), or
left (if left-handed) On-side The same as the leg-side

On the up - Making contact with the ball before it reaches the top of the
bounce - hitting it on the rise. Viv Richards was a prominent exponent
Out - There are ten possible ways of being out: bowled, caught, hit wicket,
lbw, stumped, timed out, handled the ball, obstruction, hit the ball twice, and
run out. To be out "retired out" is gaining in currency and popularity and
counts as a dismissal, unlike "retired hurt"

Outside edge - When the ball hits the edge of the bat which is furthest away
from his body

Outswing - When the ball swings away from the batsman and towards the slips

Paddle - A sweep shot

Pair - When a batsman gets a duck in both innings

Pinch-hitters - Lower-order batsmen promoted in the line-up to try and hit up
a few quick runs. Used mostly when a team is chasing a huge total in a onedayer - the thinking being that a few quick runs will reduce the asking rate;
and if the pinch-hitter gets out, the specialist batsmen are still around

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Pitch - The bounce of the ball - "it pitches on a good length". Also, the cut
strip in the centre of the field of play

Play on - When a batsman hits the ball but it goes on to hit the stumps and he
is bowled

Plumb - When the batsman is clearly LBW, even at full speed, he is said to be
plumb in front.

Powerplay This was introduced by the ICC in 2005 to try to spruce up the
middle overs of one-day internationals by enforcing the bowling side to take
three blocks of overs in which they have to have extra fielders within the 30-
yard circle. The first Powerplay is mandatory through the first ten overs of the
innings, the second and third o. In rain-reduced matches the duration of the second and third
is reduced in proportion to the overall reduction. es, of five overs each, can be taken at any
other time.

Pull - a back-foot leg-side shot, distinct from the hook because the pull is
played to a ball that hasn't risen as high.

Return Crease Parallel white lines pointing down the pitch, either side of the
stumps. A bowler's back foot must land inside this area or else a no-ball will
be called.

Retire To postpone or end one's innings, either voluntarily through boredom
when you're simply too good for the opposition, or involuntarily and in agony,
when a nasty fast bowler has taken his pound of flesh

Reverse Sweep The epitome of the type of shot you will not find in the MCC
coaching manual. This stroke is played by dropping to one knee and reversing
one's hands, so that you can swing the ball from leg to off, rather than the
more natural off to leg. It is a handy stroke for beating conventional fields in a
one-day game, but it has its drawbacks as well - just ask Mike Gatting

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Reverse Swing When the ball is 50 overs old and the pitch is as flat as a
pancake, this phenomenon is often a bowling side's saving grace. First
mastered by the Pakistani quicks of the 1980s and 1990s, it involves
sideways movement of the ball through the air that is contrary to your average
everyday laws of physics.

Rip Big turn for a spin bowler, especially a legspinner, who can use the whole
action of the wrist to impart maximum revolutions on the ball. Shane Warne,
consequently, bowls a lot of "rippers"

Ring Field A standard fielding arrangement, with men positioned in a circle all
around the bat saving the single

Roll To flatten the playing surface with a heavy rolling device. At the end of an
innings, the side about to start their innings will be offered the choice of a
heavy or light roller

Roller A heavy rolling device designed to flatten the surface of the pitch

Rope Used to mark the perimeter of the field. If the ball crosses or hits the
rope, a boundary will be signalled

Rough The area of a pitch that is scuffed up and loosened by the action of a
bowler running through in his follow-through. Usually, this will be situated a
foot or so outside leg stump, and consequently it becomes a tasty target for
spin bowlers, who can exploit the extra turn to make life a misery for the

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Run-chase Generally the fourth innings of a first-class or Test match, and the
latter stages of a one-day game, when the match situation has been reduced
to a set figure for victory, in a set time or maximum number of overs

Run-rate Of particular importance in a one-day game, this is the average
number of runs scored per over, and is used as a guide to a team's progress
(see Duckworth Lewis)

Run-up The preparatory strides taken by a bowler as they steady themselves
for delivery. Also the area in which they perform said action

Runner A player who is called upon by a batsman who might otherwise need
to retire hurt. He is required to wear the same padding and stands at square
leg or the non-striker's end to perform the duty of running between the
wickets. Often the cause of endless confusion and inevitable run-outs

Seam The ridge of stitching that holds the two halves of a ball together, and
causes deviation off the pitch when the ball lands. Seam bowlers, as opposed
to swing bowlers, rely on movement off the pitch, rather than through the air

Sitter The easiest, most innocuous and undroppable catch that a fielder can
ever receive. To drop one of these is to invite a whole world of pain from the
crowd and constant embarrassment from the giant replay screen (see dolly).

Sledging Not the act of travelling downhill at speed on a toboggan, but the act
of verbally abusing or unsettling a batsman, in an attempt to make him lose
concentration and give his wicket away. Often offensive, occasionally
amusing, always a topic of conversation.

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Slog - Used to describe a shot which is not in the coaching book

Slogger - Exponent of the slog

Slog-sweep - A heave to the leg side, played like the sweep, but a lofted shot

Slower ball Like naff plastic wristbands, these are the must-have accessory
of the modern international bowler. The idea is to deliver a pace of
significantly reduced pace, while at the same time turning your arm over at the
same speed so as to deceive the batsman. This change of pace can be
achieved by a change of grip, or a late tweak of the wrist. The best exponents
- Courtney Walsh, Chris Cairns - are lethal. The worst - no names mentioned -
tend to be smacked clean over cow corner for six

Standing back/standing up Where a wicketkeeper positions himself for a
particular bowler. He stands back for fast bowlers, and stands up for spinners

Stock ball A bowler's regular delivery, minimum risk, little chance of runs or
wickets. To get away with a slower ball, they need a stock ball to lull the
batsman into a false sense of security

Strike rate The number of runs a batsman scores per 100 balls; the number
of deliveries a bowler needs to take his wickets

Swing A ball that curves through the air, as opposed to off the seam. See
also, reverse swing

Tailender Players who come in towards the end of an innings, generally Nos.
8, 9, 10 and 11, who are not noted for their batting prowess (although ideally
they can bowl a bit by way of compensation)

Teapot (or double-teapot) A gesticulation beloved of fast bowlers,
particularly the grumpier sort, such as Glenn McGrath and Angus Fraser.
Involves having both hands on hips at the same time, usually in reaction to a
dropped catch, edged boundary or general misfield

Throwing To deliver the ball with a arm that flexes at the elbow at point of
delivery, thereby enabling extra spin to be imparted for a slow bowler, or extra
pace for a quick bowler. A topic of endless debate

Ton A century (100 runs by a single batsman in one innings)

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Track The pitch

Twelfth man A substitute fielder (and drinks waiter) for the chosen eleven. If
called upon to play, he is permitted to field wherever he is needed, but can
neither bat nor bowl

Two-paced A wicket that is beginning to break up, usually after three or four
days of a Test match, and so produces some deliveries that leap off a length,
and others that sneak through at shin-height

Uncovered pitches Pitches that were left open to the elements for the
duration of a match, and so developed a variety of characteristics. The failings
of a generation of English batsmen were attributed to the decision, in the
1970s, to bring on the covers at the slightest hint of rain

V - in the The arc between mid-off and mid-on in which batsmen who play
straight (in accordance with the MCC Coaching Manual) tend to score the
majority of their runs. Modern aggressive players, such as Virender Sehwag,
tend to prefer the V between point and third man

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Wagon-wheel A circular graph or line-drawing depicting the region in which a
batsman has scored his runs

Wicket One of those ubiquitous words that is central to the game of cricket.

Wide A delivery that pitches too far away from the batsman and so proves
impossible to score off. The umpire will single this by stretching his arms out
horizontally, an extra will be added to the total and the ball will be bowled

Wrist spin The version of spin bowling in which the revolutions on the ball are
imparted via a flick of the wrist, rather than a tweak of the fingers. As a
general rule, a right-arm wristspinner's action turns the ball from leg to off
(legspin) while a left-armer turns it from off to leg (see chinaman)

Wrong 'un Australian term for a googly - a legspinner's delivery that turns in
the opposite direction, ie from off to leg

Yorker A full-pitched delivery that is aimed at the batsman's toes and/or the
base of the stumps. If the ball is swinging, these can be the most lethal
delivery in the game, as perfected by Waqar Younis in his pomp
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Zooter A spin bowling variation, first devised by Shane Warne. This is a
delivery that snakes out of the hand with little or no spin imparted, and so
deceives through its very ordinariness.


  1. Ball Red for first-class and most club cricket, white for one-day matches (and,
    experimentally, women once used blue balls and men orange ones). It weighs
    5½ ounces ( 5 ounces for women's cricket and 4¾ ounces for junior cricket)


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